Advancing Equity and Excellence in San Diego County

Joseph F. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D.

Many educators sincerely want to promote equity and excellence in their school.  They see distressing gaps in the performance of different racial/ethnic/language groups on various assessments of academic progress.  They recognize major differences in the extent to which students of color engage in classroom conversations.  They feel frustrated by the lack of learning progress they see for students whose families meet low-income criteria.  These educators don’t want to make excuses, but they nonetheless wonder how much longer they can push the boulder up the mountain without having it roll back over them.

Often, educators don’t have tools that can help them see how daily classroom practices and school practices can inhibit efforts to improve learning results for diverse populations of students.  NCUST has developed equity audits designed to help educators see how their school culture, curriculum, and instruction is similar to and different from NCUST award-winning schools where all demographic groups excel.   Unlike other audit tools that focus on the most severe deficiencies, the NCUST equity audit, helps educators develop a vision of what might need to change in order to maximize progress toward equity and excellence for all populations of students.  We are proud to have played a constructive role in helping some schools make dramatic progress in closing opportunity gaps and achievement gaps.

It has been our special honor to partner with the San Diego County Office of Education to support school districts in advancing equity in their schools.  As part of the partnership, we have worked alongside County Office personnel in using NCUST equity audit tools.  We are especially pleased to see how the San Diego County Office has supported teams of teachers and school leaders in utilizing their equity audit findings to determine how they can work together to build a shared commitment to addressing the recommendations that they believe would have the greatest impact on equity and excellence in their schools.  We are thrilled to see the progress that will ensue in the months ahead as these educators design and commit to plans of action that will make a positive difference for all of the demographic groups they serve.

View the video below to learn more about how San Diego County’s Office of Education is advancing educational equity and excellence.

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